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Doctor of Philosophy in Social Gerontology

The PhD in Social Gerontology is an interdisciplinary study of social, cultural, and political aspects of aging. The program allows students to take a critical social science perspective and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aging. Areas of research include: health and social care; critical gerontology; systems, services and policy; diversity; and cumulative inequalities.

Ph.D.Doctor of Philosophy in Social Gerontology

The PhD in Social Gerontology is an interdisciplinary study of social, cultural, and political aspects of aging. The program allows students to take a critical social science perspective and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aging. Areas of research include: health and social care; critical gerontology; systems, services and policy; diversity; and cumulative inequalities.

The PhD program in Social Gerontology will apply an interdisciplinary, comparative, and critical lens to analyzing and understanding aging as a social and cultural process, construct, and outcome.  It is the combination of these three perspectives, the ways that they interact with and build on one another, and a focus on both the social structural and cultural dimensions of aging that makes the program distinctive in its area. The PhD program in Social Gerontology differs from many doctoral programs in this area in that it allows students to develop and pursue broader research interests that may be outside the typical focus on functional health, demography and service management.  Students who complete the PhD in Social Gerontology will acquire theoretical and methodological expertise in social gerontology with a specific emphasis on an interdisciplinary social science perspective on aging and the condition of later age.

EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 2016:

Students will be required to complete six (6) half courses, which include:

  1. HLTH AGE 701 Social Science Perspectives on Health and Aging, HLTH AGE 716 Quantitative Research Methods in Studies of Health and Aging, and HLTH AGE 714 Qualitative and Historical Methods in Studies of Health and Aging
  2. HLTH AGE 713 Critical Perspectives on Aging
  3. Two elective courses offered by Health, Aging & Society or by another department or academic unit (provided that permission has been obtained from those departments or academic units).

Additional Information

  1. Students entering the PhD program who have already taken any of the following courses: HLTH AGE 701, 713, 714, and 716, or their graduate level equivalent from another program/university, can apply for exemption through the Department of Health, Aging & Society.  All students must complete a minimum of 6 half courses to fulfill the course requirements of the program.  Students who have been granted exemption for any of the required courses stated above (or their graduate level equivalent) must take at least one course offered by Health, Aging & Society.  Other courses may be taken in another department or academic unit (provided that permission has been obtained from those departments or academic units).  Course selection should be discussed with the supervisor.
  2. All doctoral students will be required to participate in a non-credit research and professional development seminar (one term in length).  Participation in the seminar will normally take place at the beginning of the second year in the program.

Comprehensive Examination

Students will take a comprehensive exam in their area of concentration in Social Gerontology. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that the student has a sufficient grasp of the relevant scholarly literature in her/his area of research interest and that s/he is able to synthesize and communicate this literature in a critically insightful way. The comprehensive exam will also have an oral component (defence of the written answers) and will be assessed by the supervisory committee.

Thesis

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree will present a thesis which shows competence in original research and will be required to defend it during a final oral examination.

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree with an average of at least B+ in a related aging and/or social sciences discipline
  • Demonstrated interest and experience in critical approaches to aging
  • Admission to the PhD program will normally be on a full-time basis only

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and how well their interests align with the research interests and availability of faculty.  Only COMPLETE applications will be reviewed by the Department.

NOTE:  During the application process, applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members in the Department regarding potential PhD supervision as well as the PhD program.

Required Application Documents:

Graduate Studies Online Application

  • Each applicant is required to complete the Graduate Studies Online Application which opens in November each year.  
  • In addition to the online application, applicants must also submit the required documents listed below.
  • NOTE: Some required application documents must be submitted through your online application (see below for details).

Official Academic Transcripts

  • Academic transcripts for ALL post-secondary studies completed or in progress at the time of application
  • Transcripts from institutions where you completed courses on Letter of Permission and/or as part of Student Exchange Programs must also be included
  • Transcripts must be sent DIRECTLY from the issuing institution to the Department of Health, Aging & Society (mailing address below)

Academic References

  • Two (2) confidential reference reports from instructors most familiar with your academic work
  • McMaster University uses an Electronic Referencing System (e-Reference).  By entering the email address of your reference through your online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf
  • IMPORTANT: The system will send the e-Reference request to your references ONLY AFTER YOU SUBMIT your online application. This means that you will need to have completed AND uploaded your Statement of Interest, Writing Sample, and CV/resume to your online application BEFORE you can click “Submit”. References may require 3-4 weeks to complete a reference report. References MUST complete their reference report BY THE APPLICATION DEADLINE OF FEBRUARY 15. Please keep this in mind when you are working on your application.
  • If, for some reason, you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference Form and send to your references for completion.  Downloaded reference forms must be sent by the reference DIRECTLY to Kristine Espiritu by e-mail (espirit@mcmaster.ca) or to the mailing address below.

Statement of Interest

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application
  • Maximum 3-4 pages, double-spaced
  • References page(s) should be single-spaced and do not count towards the maximum 3-4-page limit
  • Your Statement of Interest should clearly communicate:
    • Your specific research interests and focus
    • The relevance of your specific research to aging studies
    • The approach/methods used to tackle your research problem

Sample of Writing

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application

Resumé/CV

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application

English Language Proficiency (if applicable)

  • If English is not your native language, an official copy of your English Language Proficiency score or other evidence of competency in English is required.  Applicants whose university studies were completed at an institution where English is deemed the official language of instruction may be exempted from this requirement (official letter from the institution is required)
  • The English Language Proficiency exam must have been completed within 2 years of the application due date
  • The most common English Language Proficiency exams:
    • TOEFL: minimum score of 92 (internet based), 237 (computer based) or 580 (paper based), minimum of 20 per band. Please use TOEFL department code 080 (Other Social Sciences).
    • IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section
  • Other English Language Proficiency exams may be accepted. Please visit the School of Graduate Studies: How to Apply web site and click “Language Requirements” for more information

How to Apply:

Each applicant is required to complete the Graduate Studies Online Application which opens in November each year and submit the required application documents listed above to complete the application.

Please send all (hard copy) supporting documents to:

Department of Health, Aging & Society

c/o Kristine Espiritu

Kenneth Taylor Hall 226

McMaster University

1280 Main Street West

Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4

Canada

Application Deadline:

  • February 15

The majority of Health, Aging & Society graduate students at McMaster receives competitive funding packages that may include financial support such as teaching assistantships, university graduate scholarships, as well as external scholarships and bursaries.

For information about major scholarships and awards competitions, please visit School of Graduate Studies: Awards & Funding.

The awards listed below are open to CURRENT McMaster University graduate students who meet the eligibility requirements.  Eligible students should apply through Mosaic and submit the required documents specified in the application. Note the application deadline indicated on Mosaic each academic year.

The Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award

The Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award was established in 1999 by Barbara Bayne to honor Dr. Ronald Bayne's valuable contribution to the study of Gerontology at McMaster University.  This scholarship is to be awarded to any GRADUATE STUDENT in the FACULTIES OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES conducting RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF AGING.

The E.B. Ryan Scholarship

The E.B. Ryan Scholarship was established in 1997 using funds raised by a performance of the play "Letter from Wingfield Farm".  This scholarship is to be awarded to in-course GRADUATE STUDENTS from the FACULTIES OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HEALTH SCIENCES conducting RESEARCH ON AGING.

Faculty Supervisor

All Health, Aging & Society graduate students should discuss course selection, comprehensive exam, thesis, and any other academic related questions with their supervisor.

Graduate Chair

The department’s graduate chair is also available to provide additional support to Health, Aging & Society graduate students

PhD in Social Gerontology Handbook

 

  • HLTH AGE 701 / Social Science Perspectives on Health and Aging
  • HLTH AGE 703 / Social Systems, Services and Policy: Critical Perspectives
  • HLTH AGE 704 / Special Topics in Aging
  • HLTH AGE 705 / Special Topics in Health
  • HLTH AGE 706 / Independent Study
  • HLTH AGE 707 / Reading Course
  • HLTH AGE 708 / Health and Aging in a Global and International Context
  • HLTH AGE 709 / Socio-Cultural Aspects of Health and Aging
  • HLTH AGE 710 / Health, Aging and the Media
  • HLTH AGE 711 / The Health Care System and the Older Person
  • HLTH AGE 712 / Globalization and Health
  • HLTH AGE 713 / Critical Perspectives on Aging
  • HLTH AGE 714 / Qualitative and Historical Methods in Studies of Health and Aging
  • HLTH AGE 715 / Critical Perspectives in Health Studies
  • HLTH AGE 716 / Quantitative Research Methods in Studies of Health and Aging
School of Graduate Studies Graduate Calendar Graduate Supervisors Paying Your Fees PhD Social Gerontology Handbook Apply Now
For more information:
Department of Health, Aging & Society c/o Kristine Espiritu
Kenneth Taylor Hall 226
(905) 525-9140, ext. 27035
espirit@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Master’s degree in a related aging and/or social sciences discipline
Program Type:
Doctoral
Program Options:
Full-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
February 15